Our Lady's Abingdon - McAuley Scholarship Programme

McAuley Scholarship Programme


At Our Lady’s Abingdon School, we believe that every pupil should make the most of their personal gifts.  Our motto, ‘Whatever you do, do it well’ is aptly supported by our extensive Scholarship Programme, which includes Academia, Art, Drama, Music and Sport.  Our ethos provides an individual approach that ensures we uncover every child’s full potential and we will nurture all pupils to achieve their best, enabling them to thrive both academically and as young people.
Our Scholarship Programme seeks to recognise those pupils who excel in their studies and other areas of School life, and offer them the opportunity to pursue their aspirations with the support and guidance of our exceptional staff.

We have a range of options to empower each pupil to be the best that they can be.  Each scholar is assigned a personal mentor who monitors their progress and helps them make the most of the opportunities provided.

All Scholarships must be applied for during the Trinity term when the pupil is in Year 5, Year 7* or Year 10; or at the start of the following school year; for entry into Year 7, Year 9 and OLA 6th.

NOTE: Deadline date for submission of application forms for 2025 entry is Friday 27th September 2024 (Tuesday 15 October 2024 for candidates seeking an OLA 6th Scholarship). 

*Year 7 application for Academic Scholarship entry to Year 9 is for external candidates only

Academic Scholarships

Each scholar is assigned an academic mentor who is typically a member of the OLA teaching staff. The mentor meets regularly with the scholar and is responsible for guiding them on their learning journey and monitoring their progress.

  • Year 7-9 Academic Scholars participate in scholar seminars, where they develop their presentation, public speaking and research skills. They also engage with our Young Scholar Reading Programme, under their mentor’s guidance.
  • Scholars in Year 10-13 undertake a research project under supervision of their academic mentor. In OLA 6th this is normally within the Extended Project Qualification scheme, whereas in KS4 scholars would embark on smaller projects aligned with their interests.
  • Scholars in older year groups are given leadership opportunities, co-chairing academic societies and organising events for younger pupils in school. Those with particular academic interests outside the school curriculum can benefit from courses within the Future Learn program or other e-learning opportunities, as agreed with their academic mentor.
  • 11+ Academic Scholarships are awarded for three or five years, until GCSE. They are subject to annual reviews based on the scholar meeting their individual targets agreed with their mentor and the general expectations of an OLA scholar, as well as on their performance in end of year examinations in academic subjects. OLA 6th Academic Scholarships are awarded for two years, with a review at the end of the Lower Sixth year.

The Rigby Award

The Rigby Award is for ‘exceptional’ candidates in Academic achievement, Art, Drama, Music or Sport e.g. Grade 8 Music, national level sport, academic Olympiad successes or consistent Grade 9 GCSE performance in most subjects.

This is a special award.  There is no separate application process and award holders will be selected from the field of Scholarship applicants.

Any Year 11 pupil who performs, or is expected to perform exceptionally well in their GCSEs may express an interest in the Rigby Scholarship.

Specialist Scholarships

Specialist scholars are awarded to candidates particularly talented in creative arts or sport.
Specialist Awards come in four categories:
1. Music
2. Sport
3. Drama
4. Art (Art, DT and Textiles)

The details of provision depends on the scholarship discipline. For example, Music scholars benefit from 1:1 instrumental lessons and exclusive performance opportunities. Drama Scholars are given significant roles in the school play every year. All specialist scholars can choose from a selection of extra-curricular clubs in their respective disciplines and those in OLA 6th are presented with leadership opportunities, co-chairing a society or running activities for younger pupils.
11+ Specialist Scholarships are awarded for three years, subject to annual reviews based on the scholar meeting expectations set by the subject coordinator of their scholarship discipline. OLA 6th scholarships are awarded for two years, subject to review at the end of Lower Sixth.
Candidates who are awarded a scholarship for Year 7 can apply internally, when in Year 9, for their scholarship to be extended for the final two years of their GCSE course.

Scholarship Application Key Dates

Scholarships applications for entry September 2024 are now closed.

School application forms and further details of all Scholarships are available on request from the Scholarships coordinator. Key dates for Scholarship applications for entry to the School in September 2025 are as follows.

Lower Sixth Scholarships: Academic
Closing date for applications: Tuesday 15 October 2024
Examinations: Tuesday 12 November 2024
Interviews: Tuesday 19 November 2024

Lower Sixth Scholarships: Music, Art, Textiles, Design Technology, Drama, Sports
Closing date for applications: Tuesday 15 October 2024
Interviews and auditions: Monday 18 November 2024

Year 7 and 9 Scholarships: Academic
Closing date for applications: Friday 27 September 2024
Examinations and Interviews: Saturday 09 November 2024

Year 7 and 9 Scholarships:  Music, Art, Drama, Sports
Closing date for applications: Friday 27 September 2024
Interviews and auditions: Friday 8 November 2024

Financial Awards

  1. Academic
    • Y7 & 9 = 10% off school fees until the end of Year 11
    • OLA 6th = 10% off school fees until the end of Sixth Form
  2. Art
    • Y7 & 9 Art = £300 annual award
    • Lower 6th Art = £500 annual award
    • Lower 6th DT = £500 annual award
    • Lower 6th Textiles = £500 annual award
  3. Drama
    • Y7 & 9 = £300 annual award
    • Lower 6th = £500 annual award
  4. Music
    • Y7 & 9 = free individual tuition at school by one of the school’s visiting music staff
    • Lower 6th = free individual tuition at school by one of the school’s visiting music staff.
  5. Sports
    • Y7 & 9 = £300 annual award
    • Lower 6th Sports = £500 annual award

A pupil may qualify for only one major financial award from the following: Academic Scholarship, Sibling Discount, Bursary Award (means tested). Where more than one award is applicable, only the larger amount will apply. Where a pupil is awarded both an Academic Scholarship and either a Sibling Discount or Bursary, the Scholarship will become an honorary award. There is no financial aspect to an honorary Scholarship award but the pupil will benefit from the opportunities to participate in the McAuley Scholarship programme and will have the distinction of being recognised as a Scholar.